Do I contradict myself?

Do I contradict myself?

Today I'm going to talk about whether or not it's ok to take any joy in watching Mr. "I Love Doing Crimes and Getting Away With It" not entirely get away with it for once.

Real quick before that though I posted this new-ish short story by me the other day.

Now and at the hour of our death
I sent this short story out to paid subscribers a few months ago but I’m taking it out from behind the paywall for a while today. Subscribe if you want to get every piece as they come out. It doesn’t appear in my book A Creature Wanting Form but probably

It had previously been pay-walled but now you can read it if you like. Yes it's about death and the uncanny behavior of animals not sure why you're asking. It goes in part like this:

They had this idea to take seeds up to the moon. 1971. Apollo 14 the guy said. F was noticing a bulge at his hip as he turned back to talk at them that made him nervous. In fairness that wasn’t uncommon around here. It was the most normal thing in the world here.
So they took the seeds up to the moon and brought them back down again and planted them all over the country to. Well I don’t know actually. See if they would grow funny he said. Or not. Maybe just to have done it. There were two decent sized ones not far from here. Loblolly pines I believe. But the flood took them over he said. Washed them away. They left the plaques up for a while after but eventually the city came and took those down too.
E was thinking about giving some seeds a tour of space. Wondering what they thought all of that effort could have possibly imprinted on their lives as mature trees later on. Maybe it was bad for them. Like smoking cigarettes when you’re newly pregnant.
Which she was. And was doing. Not ready to quit yet because then everyone would know.
Furtive short puffs though that didn’t technically count.
Nothing too strange happened to the rest of the trees by and large as far as I know but some of them started growing horizontally the guy said. Maybe like they knew something other normal trees didn’t. To stay close to the ground.

Read the rest.

A piece in Reason this week argued against the publishing of defendants' mugshots. It's an idea that I am very sympathetic to. A number of states have recently taken steps to curtail the practice and I think that's a very good shift in the right direction. These people are after all presumed innocent and their mugshots being published is often an attempt by the police to make them look guilty to the public before they've been convicted of anything. It's a pre-conviction form of ridicule and shame and it has no place in any system of justice. (Especially when it enables a secondary market of extortionists who post the images then charge people to get them taken down.)

In sharing his piece the writer Billy Binion said something that I disagree with pretty strongly however. He tweeted: "A lot of people who talk about the importance of criminal justice reform & a fair legal system are about to gleefully share Trump’s mug shot. You can’t reconcile those things. Principles don’t mean anything if you don’t apply them when it hurts to do so."

Check this out: I'm reconciling them right now very easily!

It is indeed bad when the state wields its virtually unchecked power to destroy the lives of the powerless and presumed innocent and it is good when the powerful who act like they are above the law – and have been treated by the law itself at every stage of their lives as if they are above the law – at long last get jammed.

People were making similar scolding posts when Trump was first indicted in Georgia. Accusing those who were happy about the outcome of being pro-cop and lionizing a prosecutor.

If someone is truly an across the board abolitionist and come by their beliefs honestly I think that's a noble thing. My problem here is using the very people who stand in opposition to all of that as the use cases of your philosophy. (Or as some kind of gotcha attack on the left.) It's like how so many Republicans are pretending to care all of a sudden that most of our prisons are virtual hell holes because some January 6 guys are in there now. They've always been tortuous! I know you don't care about that because you have never cared about that before and will stop caring about it the instant your guys are free.

Do you honestly believe Donald Trump or Rudy fucking Giuliani of all people – perhaps two of the most law breaking and prison-stuffing politicians we've seen in our lifetimes – give one single shit about the suffering of others in jail? Or anywhere for that matter.

(And for what it's worth I'm pretty sure the average arrested poor person doesn't immediately print their mugshot on merch to make millions off of their worshipful army of like 30% of the entire country.)

I am simply not going to turn them into sympathetic figures to make a point I could better make with the vast number of people who haven't seriously harmed anyone that are now at this very minute rotting in prison. I am not going to cede those whose entire political project aims to spread pain far and wide one single iota of grace. I'm sorry!

Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself!

I wrote this right after January 6 when Trump was first banned from Twitter and while it was about the idea of taking a principled stance to defend his "freedom of speech" the idea applies here as well.  

You do not under any circumstances have to come to the aid of your enemies. If our broader project whatever you want to call it has any hope of ever succeeding it requires destroying the fascists and the right entirely as it exists and there is no possible future in which aligning with them now out of noble rhetorical principle will have any positive boomerang benefit...
And besides who are the hypothetical refs of discourse we are offering up our fealty to fairness to in this situation? What good-will redemption credits are we banking right now that will be honored at a later date and by whom?
Do people honestly think if we never try to deplatform the far right they will be forced by logic and sportsmanship to acknowledge our good faith efforts and provide the left the same protections when its our turn later on? Obviously not. And it’s always already been our turn. The speech of the left is regularly constrained all the time.

I think it's fine to despise and want to tear down a carceral system that houses 25% of the world's prisoners and cages people over bullshit at industrial levels just churning and churning out pain and suffering every day and also think it's fine – and even funny! – when someone who was very recently the most powerful man alive gets in a spot of legal trouble. You're not going to find me cheering on any prosecutors – and certainly not this one in Georgia – but I believe on the long road to a better world that corrupt and fascist politicians will simply have to wait their turn at the back of the decarceration line.

Some prison-related pieces from previous issues:

There are so many aspects of prison life that aren’t told
They should be reflected in the media
No New Women’s Prisons
“I was under the impression that we all end up in prison”
It’s inside where the punishing actually happens
Down below a conversation with a physician’s assistant who works at a hospital in Philadelphia about what her job entails, how people use the emergency room for their primary care, and preparing for the future of abortion care in uncertain times. First a look at a devastating case of brutality
A massive feedback loop of disenfranchisement
Shut up he might hear you
These people have stolen everything
Today’s main feature is a dispatch by Andrew Quemere from an anti-carceralprotest this week in Massachusetts against the proposed construction of amassive and expensive new women’s prison. Quemere writes the newsletter TheMass. Dump Dispatch [] which you should subs…

I came across this poet named Brendan Joyce on Blusky (follow me there if you want) and I really liked some of the work he's been posting. Turns out he's got a new collection called Personal Problem coming out in a few weeks. (Order it here).

Here are a couple of my favorites from the book. (Zillow originally appeared in Prolit magazine.)

Hell yeah the new Fiddlehead is good man. Check it out.

Someone told me the other day they wanted to try getting into Deftones and so I made them a starter 101 playlist. Perhaps it could be of use to you as well.

Alright I gotta get out of here. I have some malingering to get back to. Bye.